Councillors Mull Over Next Year’s Spending Cuts

wesleyan chapel 2Councillors will determine how much can be cut from the budget of each committee.

Members attending the Council’s finance meeting, the Policy and Resources Committee, heard that the authority’s reserves will be wiped out by the start of the 2015 financial year without action.

Head of Finance Iain McCulloch put forward a range of options, which show how much would be saved with 5%, 10% or 15% cutbacks by each committee.

He said it was “unsophisticated” but a starting point. The authority needs to trim around £600,000 from running cost.

The range would mean a saving of between £111,000 and  £222,000 from the General Purposes budget. That committee operates the islands’ infrastructure and employs the direct labour force.

Options for Community Services, which oversees Park House and the Sports Hall, range between £62,000 and £124,000.

And the Planning Department, which includes groups such as the AONB, could save between £21,000 and £42,000.

The individual committees will come back with their ideas early in the New Year, although some are already giving estimates for next year’s spending plans.

Councillor David Pearson said there would need to be a balance struck between savings and service delivery and there could be a time when some current services may end.

But Chairman of Council Amanda Martin felt the cuts could be greater and said she would have been “even harder hitting.”

Amanda told councillors that they’d been talking about trimming the budgets for a long time now and they just had to get on with it.

Iain reported some good news. The Government is trimming 1% off their local council funding packages for 2014 to 2015, but they’ve written to say Scilly won’t face an additional cut the year after.

It’s expected that other council’s will receive further grant reductions.

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